Episode 5: Death by LSS

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“I want to see Santa Claus!” she gaily said. “I’m going to catch Santa Claus on film!”


Now Playing: “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” – The Jackson 5 (in my memories)
Trigger Focus: Short story / Novella
Genre: Crime
Output: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, my first unofficial crime story


The smoking area old Seattle’s Best branch in Trinoma was my favorite after-work haunt. It was where I wrote and conceptualized my fiction works, particularly my Wattpad stories and “The Seven-Day Detective” for #JustWritePH. I liked sitting at the corner table near the glass wall in front of the coffee shop because it had the best view of the area (see above picture), and it was the most convenient place to plug in my laptop and phone charger.

If there was one thing I hated in that coffice, it was when the in-house music consisted of only one song on loop for a long time. I for one had to listen to it to the point of contracting last song syndrome (LSS), after which I was forced to buy earphones and stock up on new music.

Perhaps the worst case of LSS I experienced was around Christmastime in 2014, when the only song playing on loop for hours was “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by The Jackson 5. Honestly, it’s a great feel-good song, but when you’ve been hearing that tune for two hours straight, strange things enter your mind and drive you crazy.

Which is what happened to me.

The song lingered in my head for so long that I saw a different story behind the cheerful Christmas classic. The first that came to mind was that it was a subtle swipe at committing adultery.

The idea stuck with me for a while, and I thought there was no way I could get it out of my head. Connecting a nice ditty with something sinister like cheating on a spouse – and to be caught by a child, to boot – was rather distressing, intriguing, and stupid.

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The date was December 8, 2014, the first day of the onslaught of Tropical Storm Hagupit in Metro Manila. I was working on a few draft chapters for “Odoriko” in my coffice when the damned song played on loop again.The thought of a child watching his philandering mother getting cozy with Santa Claus distracted me from thinking of romantic scenes one too many times.

There was only one way for me to exorcise that malingering idea: to write it down.

Two hours and 3,008 words later, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” was created.

I posted the story as a note on Facebook, and it got a few positive reviews. It was a brilliant but dark reimagining of the popular Christmas song, they said.

Back then, I was not planning to do anything else with it, other than repost it on Wattpad. I was having second thoughts on posting it there too, since I opened that account so I could experiment on writing romance. But post on Wattpad I eventually did.

Soon enough, a fellow writer suggested that I expand “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” to about 15,000 words and have it published. The writer liked the story too, and compared it to the works of R. L. Stine. Well, I’m nowhere near Stine’s level, but I still took the compliment.

I submitted the story for publication along with “The Seven-Day Detective”, now a stand-alone book, to Buqo in time for Christmas 2015. Some time later, I eventually posted it as an e-book on Amazon Kindle.

It was a wonder that while I was struggling back then to write a coherent romance story, I was able to write down over 3,000 words for a suspense piece in one sitting. It never occurred to me to contemplate whether I had the knack for crime and mystery writing, and if it was something I should cultivate.

Joining #JustWritePH gave me a good push towards crime fiction, I guess. And to this day, I have no regrets writing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”, and deviating a bit from romance.

But then, fate would give me one more push to rethink everything I have so far about my writing career.

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